Winter = more feathers = difficult plucking???

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Avalon1984, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. Avalon1984

    Avalon1984 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2010
    I processed 2 of my roos last weekend. Those were my 10th and 11th that I have done this year. I scalded them at 155-160 degrees and then chilled in 55 degrees for approx 20sec each time. I then did it again to make sure I have the bird all the way wet. However, the plucking was sheer misery. The feathers hardly came out. They were ok on some areas but others that usually come out real easy were difficult to pull out, especially around the chest. I have used my scaling method before and it worked fine. What went wrong? Do chickens get more plummage in the winter/ late fall? What can I do about it?

    Also, it took them 36hrs to get over rigor mortis this time and I just put them in the freezer today, after a day and a helf in the fridge. Will they be ok for Thursday if I thaw them out Wednesday night, or must I take a dreaded trip down to the store to get a broasted chicken?

    Thank you for all your help!
  2. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    They should be fine without freezing until Thursday. Also, why do you chill the bird in water after scalding, but before plucking??

    We just scald and then pluck. 155 degrees is right on temp. 60 seconds is a good rule of thumb, but I will use a wing tip feather as a guide to tell if it is ready stop the scalding process. If it releases easily, so will the rest.

    One thing that does help wet the feathers is a few drops of liquid dish soap like Joy or Dawn. The soap breaks the surface tension and help wet feathers better.
  3. oesdog

    oesdog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2010
    I am processing a Pheasent tomorrow. They are a bit harder to pluck as the skin tends to break easier than a chicken for some reason. I usually just pop them in tepid water just to warm the skin surface and also to stop the feathers going all over the place. I usually hold the bird tight between my legs and get comfortable then I start at the base of the neck as usually there is a bald bit where the neck was brocken. It is easier if you start that way. Then I get myself into a rythem of plucking taking the feather in my finger tips and keeping my other hand on the birds chest and the fingers at the base of the feather to protect the skin as she comes lose. The thing is not to take too many feathers at one time as that causes the skin to rip. Anyhow I have only done 3 Pheasents and one chicken so your well ahead of me - I think we all have our own methods that work for us. Some folk dry pluck and don;t scold at all! Personally I like plucking and find it relaxing DH does all the yucky gut stuff! [​IMG]

    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  4. RWD

    RWD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2011
    Wartrace TN.
    Avalon, how long did you have them in the scald water? Take a watch with a second hand and scald for 45 seconds while swishing up and down and around and around constantly moving the chicken up and down, and at 150 degrees, it is ready to pluck. No need to let cool, before plucking. I skip the soap unless it is a duck.
  5. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2008
    Does this have anything to do with pinfeathers? My mother used to say there was a stage when the bird had pinfeathers growing in and would be miserable to pluck. I would love to know when this age is so I could avoid it when processing.
  6. Avalon1984

    Avalon1984 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2010
    Thank you all for your helpful input! I scald for 15-20sec, then I put it in 55 degree water (I learned that somewhere here) for about 15-20 seconds and then I do another round of both. This has worked perfectly on the birds I have processed before. The feathers would come off just as you slide your hand over it, it was that easy. Not this time though. It was very spotty, I wonder if I did not swish the birds around very well and the feathers didn¬ít get very wet. It was only about 30 some degrees that morning, and even though I checked the water temperature constantly, I wonder if it cooled off just before I started to scald. Beginners mistake I guess? [​IMG] There is only one way of knowing and that is to process some more.

    Oh, and thank you for the advise for Thanksgiving! I will be eating one of my birds! Yeah! [​IMG]

    Uhh pheasants. Hubby and I are thinking about doing those next year. I cannot wait. [​IMG]
  7. Avalon1984

    Avalon1984 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2010
    Quote:Awww. Thanks for the advice. I think I get to grabby with the feathers at times [​IMG] See, my hubby usually helps with the plucking but I do all the gutting and trimming. [​IMG]

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